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Project Wadi Attir: Sustainable Desert Community in the Negev Desert in Israel

Development of a model sustainable community in the Negev desert in Israel is no longer a dream. After four years of planning, fundraising and coordinating among the various agencies, organizations, communities and stakeholders, this Bedouin community-based project that is designed to integrate agricultural, commercial and educational programs is becoming a reality. The project, a joint initiative of the U.S. based Sustainability Laboratory and the Hura Municipal council – the governing body of a local Bedouin township — attracted the support of the Israeli government, international and local NGOs, private sector enterprises, academia, and private donors, making it a uniquely pluralistic endeavor. The groundbreaking ceremony, attended by many dignitaries of the Bedouin community, along with government officials, donors, partners, and sponsors, marked the official launch of the implementation phase of the project.

For my regular readers that have been tracking the progress of this model project, you know that this is not just a regular planned community. Conceived by Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, founder of the Sustainability Laboratory, project Wadi Attir represents one of the most far-reaching and significant demonstrations of an integrated approach to sustainable development the world has seen to date. Impacts of the project are potentially far reaching and it may inspire new developments on the path toward peace between the State of Israel and its neighbors. In a small and tangible way that demonstrates the importance of regional economic development as a tool for creating a peaceful life style that is focused on education, equality, technical skills, and viable products for commerce, this project is a model for what is possible if the opposing parties agree to disagree, but also agree to work together to create a more hopeful future.

To download a copy of the most recent update from the Sustainability Laboratories, click here.